January 2011 a seminar was organized by the Dutch unit of European Movement in order to discuss the consequences of the coming abolition of the WEU and with that, the European Security and Defence-Assemblee (final session was on 10 May 2011), the quality of democratic control on European defence policy and the significance of the European Parliament.

The basis for the WEU was laid down March 1948 in order to design a new European institution to contribute to peace and stability and to the development of the European security and defence architecture. It is a treaty concerning economic, social and cultural cooperation and collective self-defence. 39 Countries have the right to send delegates to the Assemblee.

The importance of the WEU has never been major. Almost all the tasks were delegated to the European Union, including the Petersberg tasks. These tasks were incorporated in the Treaty on European Union. It is a list of military and security priorities incorporated within the EU's Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

The European Security and Defence Assemblee of the WEU offered national members of parliament from the member states of the EU the opportunity to become informed and consulted about the European Security and Defence Policy. The role of the Assemblee strongly depended on the development of a European foreign policy and defence capacity.

March 2010 it was decided to abolish the organisation in July 2011 at the latest (see statement below). Abolition, however, carries responsibilities. Duties will disappear, assigned, delegated and deputed. The NATO cannot take over all the duties. Civil side for instance is an example.

Till now, national parliaments did send delegates to the Assembly. After the abolition, this procedure will disappear, MEP'S could become in place, through which national parliaments will loose their (direct) contacts and influence.

The EU took a great step by establishing the HR and EDEO, through the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. This treaty is used to create a body that execute security and defence policy. But is their a real common European Security and Defence Policy?

Who is going to decide after the abolition about strategic interests of the Union? It is important that national parliaments hold their possibility to consult and to use power. On the other hand, a common European foreign policy is hardly unthinkable and allows in fact no national policies. But not all member states execute the same policy. There are 2 member states with nuclear weapons and there are member states, which are not a member of the NATO (Austria and Ireland). So, what approach? Community acquis of intergovernmental?

members, associate members, deputy countries, associate partners
National parliaments should keep their influence and their say on common European Security and Defence Policy and sent delegates in order to come to conclusions and results. European Parliament made up their committee on CSDP. This committee should search for liason with national parliaments.
Statement of the Presidency of the Permanent Council of the WEU on behalf of the High Contracting Parties to the Modified Brussels Treaty – Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Western European Union has made an important contribution to peace and stability in Europe and to the development of the European security and defence architecture, promoting consultations and cooperation in this field, and conducting operations in a number of theatres, including Petersberg tasks (*).

Building on the achievements of the WEU and the principle of European solidarity, the EU has taken on crisis management tasks since 2000 and has now developed a Common Security and Defence Policy. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, a new phase in European security and defence begins. Article 42.7 of the Treaty on the European Union now sets out that, if a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, and states that commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments in NATO, which for its members remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation. In this context, we remain strongly committed to the principle of mutual defence of article V of the Modified Brussels Treaty. The WEU has therefore accomplished its historical role. In this light we the States Parties to the Modified Brussels Treaty have collectively decided to terminate the Treaty, thereby effectively closing the organization, and in line with its article XII will notify the Treaty’s depositary in accordance with national procedures.

The Assembly of WEU has contributed substantially to the development of a European culture on security and defence. In accordance with the specific nature of CSDP, we encourage as appropriate the enhancement of interparliamentary dialogue in this field including with candidates for EU accession and other interested states. Protocol 1 on the role of national parliaments in the European Union, annexed to the Lisbon Treaty, may provide a basis for it.

The States Parties task the WEU Permanent Council with organising the cessation of WEU activities in accordance with timelines prescribed in the Modified Brussels Treaty preferably by the end of June 2011 In this respect, the WEU Permanent Council will rely on the WEU General Secretariat’s expertise and support and consult with the WEU Assembly as appropriate. It will in particular deal with the following aspects: implementation of the social plan for the WEU General Secretariat’s personnel, the Paris-based administrative services and the WEU Assembly’s staff, on the basis of the social plan of 2000 and in consultation with the personnel representatives; management of the pensions and settlement of issues related to the WEU premises in Brussels and Paris. Associate members, observers and associate partners will be duly informed by the Presidency of the Permanent Council during the process

The Petersberg tasks cover a great range of possible military missions, ranging from the most simple to the most robust military intervention. They are formulated as humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. Officially, the range of tasks the EU commits itself to "includes" the above, but is not limited to them. In practice, the task of territorial defence is considered the domain of NATO. As many European countries are fervent supporters of NATO, there are many provisions to prevent competition with NATO.

In force
Brussels Treaty
Paris Treaty
Modified Brussels Treaty
Rome treaties
Merger Treaty
European Council conclusion
Schengen Treaty
Single European Act
Maastricht Treaty
Amsterdam Treaty
Nice Treaty
Lisbon Treaty
Three pillars of the European Union:  
European Communities:  
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty expired in 2002 European Union (EU)
    European Economic Community (EEC)
        Schengen Rules   European Community (EC)
    TREVI Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)  
  Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
          European Political Cooperation (EPC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Unconsolidated bodies Western European Union (WEU)    
Treaty terminated in 2011